Cowbell 808 – yet another hipster hangout?

Cowbell 808 – 616 Bourke St, Surry Hills.

When a friend suggested brunch at a new-ish cafe in Surry Hills by the name of Cowbell 808, my first thought was – another cafe in Surry Hills? Nevertheless, I was excited to try it. Located in the leafy side of Bourke St, right down the road from the landmark Bourke Street Bakery, Cowbell 808 is situated on a corner block. Upon entering, what comes to mind is a mishmash of corner store / 80s themed decor and music that may be found in America, particularly when the basketball hoops come into clear view.

Cowbell 808

Clockwise from top left: the counter, specials board + hoop, booze menu, the interior

We were seated by the window, which was a treat considering what a beautiful sunny day it was. What we ate and drank:

  • Tortilla of the day – corn, kale, potato & semi dried tomato tortilla ($16): very beautifully seasoned and tasty dish although on the ‘dry’ side – a side of avocado and/or sour cream would have been a great accompaniment to this dish
  • Chilli & mint zucchini salad w marinated ricotta, pine nut, garlic toast ($15): a really light and refreshing dish, loved the flavours, particularly the subtle combination of mint and chilli which worked perfectly
  • Vegi baked eggs – saute kale, cauliflower, braised tomato, 2 free range eggs w house labneh & grilled flatbread ($18): this was delicious, particularly loved the spicy flavour and the cauliflower was a really unique take on baked eggs that I haven’t seen before
  • Drinks: house-made chai ($4.50) was quite standard, we loved that they had a decent booze menu that is difficult to find at breakfast time in Sydney. We had the pear cider ($6) and the white wine ($8), both very reasonably priced. They claim to do a “MEAN” bloody mary – would love to try next time!

Clockwise from top left: vege baked eggs, chilli and mint zucchini salad, house made chai, tortilla of the day

Overall, a solid cafe – the standouts were the really friendly service and the availability of the liquid “vices”. My only disappointment with the menu is that despite offering a good variety of choices, there isn’t one dish that may beckon you back to visit regularly. Besides the original fat stacked ricotta hotcakes w bacon ice cream and espresso caramel sauce (!!)…but this looked too large for us to contemplate finishing.

the verdict: 7/10 – a solid cafe in the Surry Hills precinct, although you may question whether it’s “just another hipster hangout” in the area

don’t forget to order: Sucuk (or vege) baked eggs

to try next time: original fat stacked ricotta hotcakes w bacon icecream & espresso caramel sauce…and the mean bloody mary

Cowbell 808 on Urbanspoon


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